A Florida judge stepped in at the last minute to temporarily halt prosecutors from releasing surveillance footage videos of Robert Kraft.
Earlier Wednesday morning, Palm Beach County prosecutors put Robert Kraft and other defendants in the Florida massage parlor prostitution scandal on notice, stating that they intended to release investigation surveillance videos to the public.
The footage would have been blurred and pixelated to censor any graphic or obscene content, but would ultimately provide visual and potentially indisputable proof that Kraft and the other men accused were in fact at the parlors paying for and receiving illicit services.
Hours later, Judge Joseph Marx issued a “temporary protective order” to block such a public release to the media, citing the need to make a final verdict first with regards to the video evidence before it gets released. His ruling prevents the prosecution from circulating the footage until a decision has been made one way or another regarding whether it should be made public before the trial.
As of this writing, Marx plans to issue a ruling on that decision at the conclusion of an April 29 hearing regarding the video evidence.
"“I may be on shaky grounds, media, but right is right,” Marx told reporters, prosecution, and defense during a conference call on Wednesday. “To have this happen without a judge passing judgment on it is just wrong. So I am ordering, I am barring its release until this court … don’t want this released until I’ve ruled.”"
Kraft has been charged with two misdemeanor counts relating to solicitation of prostitution, charges he has vehemently and steadfastly denied since news first broke of his alleged involvement in the large sting operation.
The New England Patriots owner reportedly was caught on camera twice visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on the night before and the morning of the AFC Championship Game. While his name was originally linked to rumors of sex trafficking, the two women Kraft is now believed to have interacted with are supposedly not connected to any trafficking.
Kraft has also been offered a unique plea deal, though it is believed that he will reject it. Should he accept the terms of such a deal, his charges would be dropped, but he would be forced to admit he would have lost his case if it ever went to trial.